Admission

Tailored Tuition

Introducing Tailored Tuition

The Ellis School provides unparalleled opportunities for girls to explore every corner of their imaginations, grapple with the complexity of the world and their multifaceted roles within it, and forge their sense of self in an environment that maximizes their potential; it prepares them to strike out into the wider world armed with their honed curiosity and a deep sense of purpose.
Because we know an Ellis education is a transformative experience, we believe that all students who are bright and curious, principled in their beliefs, eager to make a difference, and ready to make the very most of their school experience should be Ellis girls. So, what’s stopping us in our quest to bring even more interesting, bold, kind, and creative girls into this one-of-a-kind environment? Nothing, now.


How It Works

Tuition

Lower School
Grade Top Tuition 2019–2020 Range of Tailored Tuition 2019–2020*
Pre-kindergarten (5 Half-days) $10,500 $7,750–$15,000
Pre-kindergarten (2 Full/3 Half-days) $12,500
Pre-kindergarten (3 Full/2 Half-days) $13,500
Pre-kindergarten (5 Full days) $15,500
Kindergarten $18,000 $9,000–$17,500
Grades 1–4 $20,500 $10,750–$17,425
Middle School
Grade Top Tuition 2019–2020 Range of Tailored Tuition 2019–2020*
Grade 5–6 $25,250 $1,000–$19,187
Grade 7–8 $27,250 $1,000–$25,887
Upper School
Grade Top Tuition 2019–2020 Range of Tailored Tuition 2019–2020*
Grade 9–10 $29,250 $1,287–$27,787
Grade 11–12 $30,250 $2,500–$28,750
*The minimum rate of Tailored Tuition available in pre-kindergarten through grade 4 is 50% of the Top Tuition. In other words, all families are expected to contribute a minimum of $7,750 in pre-kindergarten (five full days), $9,000 in kindergarten, and $10,750 in grades 1-4. If those rates of tuition are not within your family’s budget at this time, we encourage you to research scholarships from community-based organizations or to plan ahead to apply for grade 5 when lower rates of Tailored Tuition are available.

Get a Better Idea of Your Family's Tuition

In Practice

Family A

One working parent, two Middle School applicants


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  • Details

    • Total Annual Household Income: $70,000
    • Annual Housing Expenses: $6,864
    • Tailored Tuition: $1,049 per student, or $2,098 total
    • Grandparent Contribution: $5,000 per student, or $10,000 total
      • Revised Tailored Tuition: $6,049 per student, or $12,098 total

Family B

Two working parents, one Lower School applicant, one child in non-tuition-charging school

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  • Details

    • Total Annual Household Income: $120,000
    • Annual Housing Expenses: $18,000
    • Annual Childcare Expenses: $4,000
    • Tailored Tuition: $12,527

Family C

Two working parents, two applicants to Upper School, one child in college

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  • Details

    • Total Annual Household Income: $175,000
    • Annual Housing Expenses: $12,792
    • Annual Retirement Savings: $19,000 (max pre-tax contribution)
    • Annual College Tuition Contribution: $8,500 (balance covered by student loans)
    • Tailored Tuition: $8,592 per student, or $25,777 total

Family D

Two working parents, one applicant to Middle School, one applicant to Upper School

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  • Details

    • Total Annual Household Income: $250,000
    • Annual Housing Expenses: $28,080
    • Annual Student Loan Payments: $9,000
    • Tuition: Top Tuition of $25,250 for Middle School applicant and $27,250 for Upper School applicant

Payment Plans

The Ellis School is committed to partnering with families to ensure a smooth tuition payment process throughout each school year. Families may select one of three payment plan options offered by the School: the one-payment, two-payment, or ten-payment plan. Families select a payment plan when they submit the Root Contract. A different payment plan can be selected for a subsequent year during the Annual Re-enrollment Window.

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  • Ten-payment Plan

    This plan is comprised of ten payments dividing the annual tuition into installments beginning in June and ending in March. Non-tuition fees—class fee(s), Ellis Parent Association dues, and tuition insurance fees—will be withdrawn via FACTS alongside your second tuition payment in July. The five percent enrollment deposit is applied to the final tuition payment. Tuition insurance through A.W.G. Dewar, Inc. is required for this payment plan. Payment through FACTS Tuition Management Service is required for this payment plan. The annual nonrefundable FACTS fee for the Ten-Payment Plan is $45.
  • Two-payment Plan

    This plan is comprised of two payments dividing the annual tuition, with 60 percent due by July 31 and the balance of 40 percent due by January 1. Non-tuition fees—class fee(s), Ellis Parent Association dues, and tuition insurance fees—will be withdrawn via FACTS alongside your first tuition payment in July. The five percent enrollment deposit is applied to the final payment. Tuition insurance through A.W.G. Dewar, Inc. is required for this payment plan. Payment through FACTS Tuition Management Service is required for this payment plan. The annual non-refundable FACTS fee for the Two-payment Plan is $10.
  • One-payment Plan

    This payment plan is comprised of one payment of the annual tuition by July 31. Non-tuition fees—class fee(s), Ellis Parent Association dues, and tuition insurance premiums—are also due by July 31. The five percent enrollment deposit is applied in July. Tuition insurance through A.W.G. Dewar, Inc. is optional, though strongly recommended, for families who select this payment plan. Payment through FACTS Tuition Management Service is required and free of charge.

How to Apply

The application for admission and the application for Tailored Tuition through School and Student Services (SSS) are separate but simultaneous. The application for admission is due January 1 and the Tailored Tuition application window runs from November 1 through January 1. Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis after January 1, but space and Tailored Tuition may be limited. The steps to apply are outlined below.

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  • 6. Submit Your Application Between November 1 and January 1

    A complete application has three parts: (1) a Parent Financial Statement (PFS); (2) a $51 application fee*; and (3) all required supporting documents, including the previous year’s tax filing (1040, W-2(s), and all other forms and schedules you submit). 

    Create an account with School and Student Services (SSS) and complete the Parent Financial Statement (PFS), which will ask you about family size, total income, savings, investments, indebtedness, medical and dental expenses, any unusual expenses, and other assets such as home equity. The Ellis School code is 2974. For families applying for multiple daughters, be sure to submit an application for each daughter.
     
    *There is a $51 fee to submit the application. If you qualify for a fee waiver, the fee will be waived automatically by SSS.

    APPLY FOR TAILORED TUITION

  • 7. Families With One Parent/Guardian or Multiple Households

    If your daughter's family includes multiple households, a Parent Financial Statement must be submitted by each household along with all required supporting documents in order to be considered for Tailored Tuition. Consideration of all available resources from both custodial and non-custodial parents/guardians and their spouses or live-in partners is based on the belief that a family’s contribution to education is a reflection of the ability, not the willingness, to contribute, which is SSS best practice. All financial information is kept strictly confidential and at no time will one household have access to the others’ information.

    If your daughter’s household includes only one parent, please complete the Second Parent/Guardian Waiver Request Form and upload it to SSS under Additional Documents. Requests are approved in cases where the second parent has no involvement in the child’s life for reasons such as independent conception or widowhood.
  • 8. Upload Required Tax Documents By January 1

    Once you submit your PFS and pay the application fee, you will gain access to the documents section of SSS. Please upload to the SSS website a signed copy of your previous year's federal tax return (Form 1040) including all schedules and W-2s. A file is considered complete when the Parent Financial Statement(s) and previous year tax returns are received from both parents, either jointly or separately, including signatures, all schedules, W-2s, and 1099s.
  • 9. Upload Verification Tax Documents By April 16

    Current year tax documents must be uploaded as soon as they are available and no later than April 16.

 These documents are needed to verify the information you provide in the Parent Financial Statement(s), but since they are not available prior to the January 1 deadline, they should be uploaded as soon as you have them. 
  • 10. Renew Annually

    Tailored Tuition is determined annually, and current Ellis parents must reapply each year through SSS by January 1. Unless there is a significant change in annual income or available assets, families can expect a similar rate of Tailored Tuition from year to year.

Additional Costs of Attendance

Tuition covers all instruction, field trips, technology, classroom materials, and most co- and extracurricular activities. Beyond tuition, there are some additional expenses related to attendance, which are itemized below.

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  • Dining Services

    Families who wish to sign up for a meal plan should budget $750–$900 per year or $4.50–$5.75 per meal, depending on the grade level. Families whose rate of Tailored Tuition is 35% or less of Top Tuition qualify for an annual stipend that can be used to partially offset the cost of the meal plan.
  • Textbooks and School Supplies

    School supplies are provided in Lower School; students in grades 5–12 are encouraged to budget $50–$150 per year for supplies depending on the student’s grade and course load. Textbooks are provided in Lower and Middle School; students in Upper School should budget $100–$350 per year for books depending on the student’s course load. Students in grades 6–12 must supply their own graphing calculator (around $100). Ellis offers a 1:1 device program in Middle and Upper School at no additional cost.
  • Uniforms and Merchandise

    Uniforms are required for students in kindergarten to grade 12. For new uniform items, including required physical education uniform items, families should budget up to $250; for gently used uniform and physical education items, families should budget up to $150.

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  • Class Fees

    An annual class fee of $25 is charged for each student. This fee goes to each girl’s grade to cover special class-specific events and activities.
  • Ellis Parent Association Dues

    Ellis collects annual dues of $100 from each family on behalf of the Ellis Parent Association (EPA).
  • Tuition Management and Insurance Fees

    Enrollment in FACTS Tuition Management service is required. The fee for the ten-payment plan is $45; the fee for the two-payment plan is $10; the fee for the one-payment plan is $0. Tuition insurance through A.W.G. Dewar, Inc. is required for multi-payment plans, the fee for which is 1.25% of net tuition.

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  • After-school Care and Activities

    After-school childcare known as the Extended Day Program (EDP) is $615–$2,250 per year, depending on the number of days per week for which the student is registered. Beyond Extended Day, Ellis offers additional after-school enrichment opportunities, including After-school Programs, Athletics, and Ellis Music Academy. Fees for these activities are published each year, and pre-payment for Extended Day (excluding drop-ins), After-school Programs, Athletics, and Ellis Music Academy are required. Fees apply for participation in trips for Pennsylvania Junior Classical League (PAJCL), Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS), Ski Club, and Mini-courses.
  • Testing Fees

    PSATs (which are $16) and AP exams (which are $94) are billed separately. (These rates are determined by The College Board and are subject to change.) Students who receive Tailored Tuition receive a proportional reduction to AP exam fees.
  • Van Service

    If you reside in a school district that does not provide bus transportation for your daughter(s), van service that spans the greater Pittsburgh area is available. The per-student fee for the Sewickley van is $4,000 per year for round trip and $2,000 per year for one way. For Murrysville, South Hills, and Northern Communities (Pine Richland, South Butler, Southwest Butler, Quaker Valley, and Mars areas) the per-student fee is $4,400 per year for round trip and $2,200 per year for one way.

Scholarships

The Ellis School is funded by tuition, fees, philanthropic support, income from the School’s endowment, and revenue from auxiliary programs. Tailored Tuition is supported in large part by endowed scholarships made in honor and memory of remarkable members of Ellis’ community. No additional application beyond the application for Tailored Tuition is required in order to be considered for these scholarships. At this time, Ellis does not offer any merit or athletic scholarships.

FAQs

Q: How is Tailored Tuition different than Financial Aid?

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    Tailored Tuition is an inclusive affordability initiative designed to make an Ellis education accessible to a wide range of families and to make it easier for families to get a clear picture of the level of tuition they would likely pay if their daughter attended Ellis. In a traditional financial aid model, it can be hard for a family to know whether they would qualify for aid and, if they would, what their rate of tuition would be. For lots of families, this can be a deterrent to pursuing the admission application process, even if they are certain their daughters would thrive at Ellis. Tailored Tuition is designed so families can envision their daughters at Ellis with the certainty that The Ellis School partners with all families to determine the rate of Tailored Tuition that is sustainable for them.

Q: Is my application confidential?


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    Yes. School and Student Services (SSS) is a highly secure provider of financial review services for independent schools across the country. All of the information you provide in the Parent Financial Statement, including the required and supplemental documents that you upload to SSS, is kept in the strictest confidence.

Q: How is Tailored Tuition different for families applying for Lower School (pre-k–4)?

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    The minimum rate of Tailored Tuition available in pre-kindergarten through grade 4 is 50% of the Top Tuition. Families who complete the SSS application and demonstrate that they can reasonably commit to 50% or more of the Top Tuition will be considered for Tailored Tuition. Families who would require a lower rate of Tailored Tuition are encouraged to explore community-based scholarships or to revisit Ellis for grade 5 when lower rates of Tailored Tuition are available.

Q: 
What if we are paying tuition for more than one child?


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    Tailored Tuition is designed to ensure that the total tuition that each family pays is the right fit. When applications are reviewed, the tuition per child, as well as the total tuition per family, are considered. When a family has multiple students applying to or enrolled at Ellis, the application takes into account the commitment this represents.

Q: My daughter is a returning Ellis student and we have not applied for Tailored Tuition in the past. Are we eligible?

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    Returning families who have never applied for Tailored Tuition may apply due to a change in circumstances, such as an additional child applying to Ellis, a reduction in income, job loss, extenuating circumstances, etc. Returning families may also apply if tuition levels in higher grade levels become unsustainable for their budget. Applications must be submitted through School and Student Services (SSS) between November 1 and January 1 in order to be considered for the next school year.

Q: 

Does every family need to submit an application?


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    Families who wish to be considered for Tailored Tuition must submit an application through School and Student Services (SSS). Families who intend to pay the Top Tuition and do not require Tailored Tuition do not need to apply.

Q: When is Tailored Tuition determined?

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    Applications for Tailored Tuition should be submitted by January 1 for both new and returning families. For families applying for admission to Ellis, admission decisions and Tailored Tuition are shared in early February for applicants to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten and in early March for applicants to grades 1 through 12. Applications completed outside this timeline will be considered on a rolling admission basis and may be subject to limited space or Tailored Tuition. For returning Ellis families, Tailored Tuition is included in each family's re-enrollment agreement available in February via MyEllis.

Q: Does applying for Tailored Tuition impact my daughter’s application for admission?

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    Applications for admission are considered separately from applications for Tailored Tuition. A student may be admissible to the School but waitlisted for Tailored Tuition depending on the resources available at the time of the application. The Ellis School has a robust budget of approximately $1.9 million for Tailored Tuition, and the School’s goal is to partner with as many families of qualified students as possible with the composition of the student body and the fiscal health of the School at the center of each decision.

Q: How do families with multiple households apply for Tailored Tuition?

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    If a student belongs to multiple households, each parent/guardian must submit a separate SSS application along with all tax documents and required forms to be considered for Tailored Tuition. All available resources from both parents/guardians and their spouses/live-in partners will be taken into account, based upon the belief that a family’s contribution to educational costs is a reflection of “the ability to contribute, not the willingness to contribute,” which is standard National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)/School and Student Services (SSS) policy. All financial information is kept strictly confidential and at no time will one household have access to the others’ information. If a parent is no longer involved in the life of the child in any way, please complete the Second Parent/Guardian Waiver Request Form and upload it to SSS under Additional Documents. The Director of Enrollment Management will review this request and reach out with any additional requirements.

Q: How does Tailored Tuition benefit families at The Ellis School who pay the top annual tuition?

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    Ellis partners with all families to offset the cost of tuition. Even the top rate of tuition covers only a portion of the total cost of an Ellis education. By offering Tailored Tuition, we distribute our fixed operating expenses across a larger number of tuition payers, helping to ensure that annual increases to tuition are modest. Tailored Tuition supports healthy rates of student participation in our curricular and extracurricular offerings by welcoming more girls to Ellis. Tailored Tuition also ensures that all Ellis students attend school with other bright, engaged, interesting and interested students who create the vibrant, diverse, inclusive community we all want for our children and that we know supports a more compelling and effective learning environment.

Q: How should I prepare to apply for Tailored Tuition?

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    The Tailored Tuition application window runs from November 1 to January 1. Please join us for a Tailored Tuition Tutorial, offered in November and December each school year. These detailed sessions led by the Director of Enrollment Management review the application in detail and prepare you for a swift and accurate submission process. After you have attended a Tutorial, you can schedule a time to speak or meet with the Director of Enrollment Management if you would like assistance with your application or if you have specific questions. Be sure to compile digital copies of your previous year tax documents (1040, W-2s, 1099s, etc.) to be uploaded following the submission of your Parent Financial Statement(s). The PFS and tax forms are due by January 1. If you have any questions at any time, you are welcome to call the Enrollment office at 412-661-4880 or email admissions@theellisschool.org.

Q: How is Tailored Tuition determined?

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    The Ellis School uses the recommendation of School and Student Services (SSS), which is based on the information provided in the Parent Financial Statement(s) and verified with the information in the required and supplemental tax forms. Significant variables that influence Tailored Tuition include income, assets, liabilities, debts, allowances, the number of dependents and children in tuition-charging schools, saving for retirement and college, and certain unexpected one-time expenses. Based on their family budget, parents/guardians are also asked to include the rate of Tailored Tuition that they believe is the right fit for their budget. This is called the Family Offer. Based on all of the provided information, SSS calculates the discretionary income of each family and recommends a stretch but sustainable rate of Tailored Tuition that places tuition among a family’s top financial commitments but does not exceed their budget. SSS’s recommendation, the Family Offer, and all other qualitative information provided in the application are reviewed to ensure that Tailored Tuition is the right fit for each family.

Q: I’m not sure if my family will qualify for Tailored Tuition. Should I apply?

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    Yes. Each year, Ellis offers Tailored Tuition to families from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. Tailored Tuition that is even slightly less than Top Tuition can make all the difference to a family. Please don't hesitate to contact the Enrollment Office at 412-661-4880 or admissions@theellisschool.org if you would like some personalized guidance prior to starting the Tailored Tuition application.

Q: Does my family need to reapply for Tailored Tuition every year?

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    Yes. Applications for Tailored Tuition are reviewed every year. Families who receive Tailored Tuition can expect to pay a similar rate year-over-year provided that significant financial variables (filing status, number of dependents, income, etc.) remain the same. School and Student Services (SSS) applications and supporting tax documents are due on January 1 for new and returning families.

Q: Will my family be asked to contribute to the Ellis Fund (The Ellis School's annual fund)?

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    Yes. Participation in the Ellis Fund is of critical importance. Rates of participation among parents are one of the most significant factors that funders take into account when deciding whether or not to invest in a school. Please plan to make a gift that is meaningful to your family and remember that gifts both large and small make a huge difference in the life of the School.